Q & A Marketing is a major search engine marketing (SEM) trend in 2017. This Curagami marketing post shares five things you need to know about Questions and Answer Marketing.

  • Brief History of Q&A Marketing
  • Why Q & A Marketing is Sticky NOW
  • Q&A Marketing’s Infinite Jest
  • Why Curated Q&A Marketing Wins
  • 5 Easy Q&A Tactics To Do TOMORROW

Brief History of Q&A Marketing

Asked to evaluate businesses in many different segments as Atlantic BT’s Marketing Director I noticed a universal truth – question and answer content was oversubscribed and under published. Didn’t matter if we were looking at dresses, toys, industrial research or microchip questions swamped answers. Questions fuel searches. Questions and easy “snippet-like” answers are becoming the web’s currency.

Smartphones, Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home and the Internet of Things (IOT) change what’s important. Searching on mobile devices changes our user interface (UI). We’ll never put our keyboard based Humpty Dumpty back together.

Why Q&A Marketing Is So Sticky NOW

Amazon’s Echo and iPhones are contributing to the power and speed of the Q&A marketing tsunami. Something else is happening too – mobile first architecture and design. Everyone thinks they know about “responsive design.” Responsive design is designing sites to look great no matter what devices are looking. Best to build with “mobile first” accordion blocks.

Here are a few “new SEO” and “mobile first” concepts:

  • Web Copy – More Hemingway than Faulkner use short sentences, few conjunctions and short punch sentences
  • Stories – Stories are crucial but different, mobile demands more arresting images, a flatter perspective and a limited pallete
  • Rich Snippets – Google is going to collage answers from your content so creating punchy copy gives them plenty of fuel
  • Markup & Schema – Hard to WIN with great markup but easy to LOSE if you make it hard to scrape answers and questions
  • Crowds and Community – Your team will be crushed by any crowdsourced Q&A platform

Mobile First means addressing keyboard-centric limitations. Can’t swipe or tap on a keyboard. Mobile content is different. Mobile stories should be more game-like and communal.Small screens need a leaner design. It is easy to talk your way out of connection, collaboration, and conversion. Marketers must listen more even while what it means to “listen” online becomes more difficult.

Q&A Marketing’s Infinite Jest

There will never be enough Q&A marketing. No matter how much content is created searchers will have new questions. There is no more creative mob than people searching for answers. Your content can’t compete with a smaller website with better answers. Web marketing isn’t about creation as much today. We aren’t smarter than a classroom of fifth graders and web marketing is shifting from creators to curators.

Why Crowdsourced Q&A Marketing Wins

Airbnb has more hotel rooms than Hilton or Marriott. Facebook has a billion users. Amazon’s scale makes it hard to compete across hundreds of online retail categories. Google’s search is set to power the mobile first web for years. Platforms are a winning online strategy.

When everyone has a website your marketing must discover “blue oceans”. We’ve noticed competitors squaring off and fighting over nothing. Such aimless competition creates a “red ocean” of stupidity. Your job is to discover, create, and strategize “blue oceans” – oceans where customers swim with few competitors. Bereft of fish means you’ll own blue ocean water for a long time. Q&A marketing is and will remain the largest blue ocean you are likely to find.

Why Curated Q&A Marketing Wins

Platforms can’t scale or sustain without curation. Platforms need a supportive community to function. Teach your community how to ask and answer questions. Reward outstanding contributions with features, mentions on social media, and special banners. Develop”social” rewards instead of money. Read Daniel Pink’s book Drive to understand how social rewards beat money.

The web is based on Quid pro quo. Share this post and we’ll follow and share yours. This is the web’s “pay it forward” ethos. As a content curator recognition, features, and social shares help digital marketing in many ways includin:

  • Listening – Nothing says, “We Listen” as much as sharing user-generated content (UGC)
  • Learning – When your communication flexes and is open to customer input you collaborate
  • Collaboration and Community – Collaboration (with customers or visitors) creates trust and trust is key online community pillar
  • Faster Feedback Loops – You need to learn as do your visitors and customers curating content creates a great fast feedback loop
  • Conversations Not Lectures – Don’t plan as well as you listen in our NOWIST times
  • Games and Gamification – Social kudos is one important reward but you’ll need more

Games and Gamification is a critical success factor (CSF) for sustaining online loyalty over time. When millions run around looking for Pokemon take note. Even boring tasks can receive new life on smartphones and pads.It’s easier to create “fun” in a flatter mobile environment with less copy and more graphics.

5 Things To Do Tomorrow To Help Your Q&A Marketing

There are easy things you can do tomorrow to start winning traffic, engagement, and conversions from Q&A marketing including:

  • Competitive Analysis – Analyze whose winning Google Answer Boxes in your category now
  • Copy & Steal – Google won’t replace your copy of a competitor’s approach, but you’ll build muscle memory and learn what to do
  • Brainstorm Your Businesses Q&A – What questions aren’t being asked or answered yet sit down and ask and then answer them
  • Crowds & Games – Create an ASK (for help), publish your intentions, vision and “rules of the road” and think crowdsourced PLATFORM
  • Listen, Learn & Pivot – The journey toward a crowdsourced platform must be collaborative, and flexible

Creating an online community is among the hardest things I’ve done. Community requires listening and responding. Think of the community/platform dance as journey more than a destination.